To the Editor:

In a time when so much has been canceled, we decided to create a COVID-safe Santa arrival for the children and families in the Bethel area. Thanks to all the creativity and time given so generously by Stephanie Herbeck and her family, with the assistance, enthusiasm and support of several individuals, a super fun new tradition was started on Saturday, Dec. 19th. More than a dozen cars and trucks gathered in the River Lanes parking lot, all decked out in holiday lights, wreathes, elves and excited children! They drove together, following an Oxford County Deputy and the Bethel Fire Department truck with Santa waving from the back up Main Street and around the Bethel Common. Happy children and their families lined the course, waving to Santa and admiring the workmanship of the vehicle owners. So much fun!

A huge thanks to Stephanie Herbeck for conceptualizing the event, making the poster, getting the word out, decorating the Common, and being a such a fantastic example of community! Additional thanks to the Bethel Shop & Save for the candy canes, Mike Jodrey and the Bethel Fire Department for their assistance transporting Santa, the Oxford County Sheriff and Deputy Willie Nelson in his blue Santa suit, the Town of Bethel and the Bethel Area Chamber for their sponsorship, to Phil McCrillis – the best Santa ever, and to all who turned out with decorated vehicles filled with holiday cheer!

This has been a very tough year for many and it is our hope that this event provided much needed smiles amidst the holiday season. There have been so many acts of kindness and generosity during this pandemic and we would like to thank all those who have, in any way, helped both their neighbors and strangers to navigate the mine field of COVID.

Best wishes for a happy and safe 2021!

Robin Zinchuk

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